Ever wonder why your fur buddy constantly rubs itself on the carpet?
Could it be because it simply enjoys the feeling?
Or because there’s something serious that you should be concerned about?
Read on to learn…
- 9 possible reasons for the behavior.
- Whether your dog just likes that carpet or is feeling discomfort.
- Valuable information on dog parasites, infections, and your dog’s overall health.
- Tricks to prevent your dog from rubbing itself on the carpet and lessen the amount of hair you have to vacuum.
- And this is just the beginning…
Why does my dog rub itself on the carpet?
Dogs rub themselves on the carpet for various reasons: the texture and feel against their skin, to rub something on or off their body, to show affection and/or contentment, or because they have an underlying issue. This is perfectly normal behavior and dogs tend to do it out of habit.
9 reasons why your dog rubs itself on the carpet
#1: Because… why not?
Just like most of us humans, dogs enjoy a good rub. Be it their face or their whole body.
There’s no need to always have a reason why your dog is rubbing itself on the carpet. Most of the time, they see it as something fun that gives them a soothing sensation, so they’ll do it repeatedly.
You would know if they’re doing it for that reason or because something’s wrong if you look closely.
Or maybe it’s just a really nice carpet and your dog loves the texture of it.
#2: They’re still feeling wet
“With all that fur, we’d want to be as dry as canine-ly possible too!”
Whether it be from a bath or from dancing in the rain, wet fur brings your dog discomfort. It will try its best to dry itself off after the fun is over.
They resort to rubbing themselves all over the place (not just carpets!) when shaking their bodies off is not enough. It’s best to blow-dry them to avoid fungus growth and ear infections as well.
#3: They’re rubbing something off or on their body
Unlike us, dogs can’t reach certain parts of their bodies. This makes them rub themselves against things around them.
They roll on their back and start wiggling around until the itch is gone and it becomes a fun activity.
A carpet is a great tool not just for their body, but for their face as well. Sometimes, their nails are too long which makes them unsuitable to use. Since they might scratch their eyes.
Another reason is that your scent is on the carpet. Your dog loves you, so he wants your scent on him.
#4: They’re full and they love you for it
You’ll see that your dog isn’t doing the crazy rubbing against the carpet when they do it after a meal. It’s a different, somewhat chill vibe.
They’re showing you contentment and affection. Why? Because they loved something you did for them. What animal (or human) doesn’t love you after feeding them, anyway?
They might also rub their face with their paws with their eyes closed, so give that good-est boy a good belly rub.
Apparently, food is also the key to a dog’s heart, not just to a man’s!
#5: They’re in discomfort
This is one of the most common reasons why your dog rubs itself on the carpet.
They have no other way to tell you what they’re feeling. It’s up to you to look closely and see if they have something on them.
Do this with ease by running your fingers through your dog’s fur and feeling his skin. If you feel small bumps as if something’s sitting on top of the skin, then it’s most likely fleas or ticks.
It could also be caused by other parasites, or your dog might have allergies. If your dog’s skin looks a certain way, have it checked.
Rubbing will bring temporary relief to your dog but if he’s also whining in the process, have it checked right away.
#6: They have impacted anal glands
Ever seen your dog rubbing or dragging its bottom along the carpet or the ground?
There’s a term for that. The activity is called scooting.
This behavior could be due to impacted anal glands.
Let me explain.
A dog’s bum produces an excretion. The latter has a scent that lets his fellow dogs know his sex, age, and health.
When the excretion is not able to go out, that’s a sign that there’s an issue with the anal glands. Thus, your dog is trying to find ways to relieve the discomfort, so it would help to bring him to the vet.
Check out this article: Why does my dog keep looking at their back end?
#7: They’re anxious
Humans are not the only ones who develop mental illnesses; animals do too.
It might sound challenging to determine if your dog is rubbing itself on the carpet out of anxiety, but it isn’t.
Study your dog’s mood and see if he does this when he’s scared. You would then know that he’s feeling anxious or upset. So your next step would be to figure out where it’s stemming from.
#8: They’re marking their territory
You know that famous meme circling around the Internet, that goes, “I will pee on everything you love.”?
Well, if your dog could speak and use it, he’d probably say, “I will pee on everything I love.”
While not all dogs are (very) territorial, marking territories is innate in them. Rubbing themselves all over the carpet, for example, means they’re spreading their scent.
If your dog is given proper training, he would know that he isn’t allowed to make a mess indoors so no peeing. This is where they get crafty and find other ways to mark their territory.
This is also their way to let other dogs know that he owns this spot.
#9: They just want to smell like poop and dirt and grass
If you don’t vacuum your carpet regularly (we hope you do!), it will accumulate different kinds of smells and dirt.
A little fun fact: Your dog’s nose is up to 100 million times more sensitive than yours.
A new case study has revealed that they can sense weak thermal radiation. What does this mean?
Even canines with impaired senses are still capable of hunting successfully. #TheMoreYouKnow
The point is dogs have an instinctual desire to return to a more familiar scent. That’s one reason why they rub themselves against your carpet.
BONUS: They’re total dorks and just want to make you laugh
FRAP? Zoomies? Puppy crazies? Sound familiar?
This is linked to dogs going crazy after a bath.
FRAP stands for frenetic random activity period. This is where dogs release all their pent-up energy.
Were they a good boy during bath time? Did they restrain themselves from jumping you when you got home?
No matter the reason, there will be FRAP after.
Your dog will start rolling around the carpet, the ground, wherever. Wiggling, doing all sorts of motion with his feet with his tongue hanging out.
Once he calms down, he’ll lie on his back with his belly exposed. You already know what this means, right? Then it’s okay to scratch him. Or toss a treat or two.
7 tips on how to stop your dog from rubbing itself on the carpet
#1: Give your dog attention
Always make time to bond with your dog. Even if you have a busy schedule. Praise it and share affection whenever it comes to you, whether you called it or not.
Want your dog to be friendly towards other dogs and people? Socialization is essential as it teaches your dog to behave well, so spend time with them.
Lack of valuable bonds leads to psychological issues. These include anxiety and fearfulness of anything unfamiliar.
Some common but serious behavioral problems that can be avoided by doing this are:
- Excessive barking.
- Whining for attention.
#2: Know your dog
What upsets your dog? Which toys does your dog love playing with? Does your dog get jealous when there are other dogs or people around?
Know whether you should laugh or worry when your dog is rubbing itself on the carpet. Be in tune with your dog’s personality and behavior.
As mentioned before, sometimes they do this out of habit. But keep in mind that there’s always a chance that there’s something wrong with your dog physically or mentally.
#3: Discourage this behavior
Your dog might get confused if it’s getting rewarded whenever it rubs itself on the carpet.
That’s when you’ll need to correct your dog’s behavior. Do this by clapping or making a sound to get your dog’s attention. Redirect its attention to something else even before it gets on the carpet.
Be consistent and remember to be patient especially if your dog has been doing this for a while now. Reward it with a treat only when it’s starting to behave the way you want it to.
#4: Check your dog’s skin condition
Fleas, ticks, and mites are two of the most common parasites found in dogs.
Fleas and ticks are small but are visible to the naked eye. Their bites leave red, sometimes swollen spots on your dog’s skin that are insanely itchy.
Sarcoptic mites are microscopic parasites that burrow beneath the skin. These mites cause more intense itching.
This makes your dog scratch and chew its skin constantly which then leads to:
- Hair loss.
- Bald spots.
It’s also highly contagious to other dogs and humans.
These parasites cannot live on humans, but they can still bite you. They will leave you suffering the same kind of itch your dog has until these parasites die.
#5: Take your dog to the vet
Parasites are not the only culprits. Your dog might also be suffering from different kinds of allergies.
Allergens found in these should be taken into consideration:
- Food (on top of the list)
- Medication (if your dog is taking any).
- Air (if you use a diffuser or humidifier with essential oils).
A lot of dog owners look up symptoms of what they think their dog is suffering from on the Internet. Some take it into their own hands and diagnose their dogs themselves.
Please don’t do this especially if you think and/or see that your dog might be suffering from something serious. Have it diagnosed properly by a professional.
Keep in mind also that prevention is better than cure. Have your dog vaccinated and checked up regularly.
#6: Unteach the behavior
Whoever said “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” never tried.
Just because you have a dog that’s a few years old doesn’t mean you can’t train them anymore.
Older dogs can focus for longer periods of time. They aren’t as easily distracted because they’re not as active as younger pups.
Equip yourself with the following:
- Patience (lots of it!).
- Basic training knowledge (watch/read dog training tutorials).
- Treats (opt for small ones since you’ll be needing more than a handful)
Practice positive reinforcement training by rewarding your dog with a treat and affection. This encourages your dog to behave a certain way and feel good about itself.
Why? Because it knows you’re pleased by what it did.
#7: Be responsible
Dogs will dedicate their whole life to you with loyalty and unconditional love. They thrive on companionship.
Train them to understand that obedience is important. But let them know that you can have fun and play with them as well. Don’t forget to buy them toys to play with.
If you think you can’t handle having too many dogs, spay and neuter your pet. Make sure you feed them properly and walk them to give them the exercise they need.
Schedule their health and dental check-ups, and vaccinations. Listen and follow your vet’s advice most especially if your dog has special needs.
Have them groomed regularly to keep their coats healthy and to avoid dead skin and dirt piling up. This prevents matting and gets rid of dandruff as well.
Their nails also need to be trimmed regularly to avoid putting pain and pressure on the paws. Neglect will lead to strain on their legs (and you don’t want nails splitting and getting infected, too).
Treat them with respect, love them, care for them, and keep them safe. Most importantly, make them part of the family and commit to them for as long as they live.
5 dog parents share their experience
Dog parent #1: Restlessness that turned out to be a yeast infection
Fur parent #1 shares how his dog was violently shaking his head from side to side. It was also scratching behind his ears and the sides of his nose until they bled.
The dog would also whimper and cry out in pain while rubbing itself against the carpet. To top it all off, there was an unpleasant smell coming from his ears.
He brought his dog to the vet and was told that his dog had no mites or fleas. But the now-confirmed yeast infection and allergies were caused by his dog’s kibbles.
They switched to a (mostly) grain-free dog food and started giving his dog plain yogurt every once in a while. Sugars were also prohibited in this diet since yeast feeds on sugar.
The parent also started bathing his dog more frequently. The vet-prescribed shampoo specifically kills fungi and tends to be drying.
They rubbed Alaskan Salmon Oil on their dog’s skin afterward to prevent it from drying. They kept doing this until the yeast infection was completely gone.
Dog parent #2: Constant head rubbing on the carpet caused by severe tooth infection
Dog parent #2 shares that his dog was constantly rubbing its head on the carpet. The dog also won’t eat hard food and had bad breath.
He went to have his dog’s teeth checked and it turned out to be a severe tooth infection. The infection caused the dog to lose 32 of his 42 teeth.
Dog parent #3: Loves face rubs on the carpet; apparently has seasonal allergies
Fur mom shares how her dog had been whimpering lately. He had also been trembling while simultaneously blinking one eye.
She didn’t think much of it at first because her dog loves rubbing its face on the carpet.
She knows her dog’s behavior and personality so she knew that these were signs of distress. She also knows his dog tends to have seasonal allergies. So she’s inclined to believe that he was itching before he was enjoying himself on the carpet.
She took her dog to the vet. And guess what? It turned out the pooch had seasonal. allergies.
Further reading: Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Act Like Something Is Biting Them
Dog parent #4: Face rubs on the carpet after a meal as a grooming habit
Another fur mom talks about her 3y/o Chihuahua’s habit of rubbing his face on the carpet and throwing rugs. The dog does this after eating.
She thought this might be from food getting stuck in his teeth. She rubbed his jaws forward and he opened his mouth like he’s yawning.
Turns out, there is no issue and her Chihuahua does this as a grooming habit.
Dog parent #5: A stimulating thing and a really good carpet
This fur dad narrates how his rescued Yorkie-Poo seems to be bipolar. Chill one minute, rubbing against the carpet, then out of nowhere goes at it and rubs her face on the floor the next.
De has only been with her for less than two months and they don’t know much about her history.
They took the dog to the vet and were told that she’s 100% healthy. This led to the conclusion that rubbing is just a stimulating thing for her.